Thursday, January 14, 2021

From Ian:

False Claims in the Campaign Against the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Definition of Anti-Semitism
A Jan. 7 letter in the Guardian, signed by eight experienced lawyers, misrepresents what the IHRA definition says about Israel and anti-Semitism. They claim that "the majority" of the IHRA definition's "illustrative examples" of potentially anti-Semitic speech "do not refer to Jews as such, but to Israel." This is simply not true. Of the 11 "illustrative examples" of potentially anti-Semitic speech listed in the IHRA definition, 9 explicitly mention Jews or the Jewish people (7 mention Israel, of which 5 mention both Jews and Israel).

The examples that mention both Jews and Israel include "Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust"; "Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel"; or "Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis." Do the signatories of this letter really intend to claim that these examples suppress legitimate, non-anti-Semitic criticism of the State of Israel?

They further claim that the examples in the definition "have been widely used to suppress or avoid criticism of the state of Israel." Widely used? Treating the suggestion that criticism of Israel is widely suppressed, either in our universities or elsewhere, is a laughable fantasy. Anti-Israel events still take place at British universities on a regular basis. Meanwhile, anti-Semitic incidents at British universities are at record levels.
JPost Editorial: IHRA definition is useful - antisemitism must be fought on all forms
The Jewish groups’ reasoning is a concern that the IHRA definition would be used to “suppress legitimate free speech, criticism of Israeli government actions, and advocacy for Palestinian rights.” They cite as “a harmful overreach” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s declaration that “anti-Zionism is antisemitism” and that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel and Israelis is a form of antisemitism that the State Department will make sure not to support.

The groups also claimed that this use of the IHRA definition is “primarily aimed at shielding the present Israeli government and its occupation from all criticism.”

An examination of the above definition and of the examples provided by IHRA – which are too many to present here, but are accessible online – finds that it in no way calls to limit criticism of Israel’s government or any others.

Unless, that is, these organizations mean to say comparing Israelis to Nazis is legitimate criticism of government policies – comparisons which are a way of denying the abject horrors of the Holocaust; or, in their zeal to advocate for Palestinian self-determination, they’ve decided that Jews are uniquely unworthy of the same rights.

As journalists, we share in these organizations’ vigilance about free speech and believe open debate is important.

Yet, the full IHRA text states that it is not a legally binding document, which means that it is not codifying limits to free expression. The US Constitution has broad protections for free speech, perhaps the broadest in the world. Hate speech is not illegal in the US, for example. But even in America, one cannot discriminate based on race, color, national origin, religion, gender, disability, age, or citizenship status in hiring practices.

BDS is, by definition, discriminating against Israelis due to their national origin, and antisemitism is discrimination based on religion. For Pompeo to ensure funds do not go to BDS-supporting groups is a reflection of existing protected categories in US law.

No one is taking away these Jewish groups’ or their Palestinian allies’ right to criticize Israel as sharply or as harshly as they wish. What governments around the world have sought to do is to combat antisemitic speech, discrimination and other behaviors by identifying them.
Albania Academy of Sciences Adopts IHRA’s Definition of Anti-Semitism
The Academy of Sciences confirmed the decision in a letter addressed to Robert Singer, Senior Advisor to the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement and Chairman of the Center for Jewish Impact, and Noah Gal Gendler, Israel’s Ambassador to Albania. In the letter, the Academy said it “reconfirms its attitude on the historical crimes committed against Jews during the Shoah (Holocaust)” and stated that “the inhumane acts they suffered during World War II, due to racism are not phenomena belonging to history, but it appears in a form of a danger reviving collective crimes and racism, ethnic, religious and cultural hatred.”

The Academy said that as an institution that has historically promoted the study of the Holocaust and its lessons, adopting the IHRA working definition is “a completely natural step and in coherence with its own past, as well as its legal and civil mission.” The Academy of Science will issue its own statement on the adoption of the IHRA working definition on January 26.

The Academy’s decision follows October’s landmark unanimous vote by the Albanian parliament to adopt the IHRA working definition, making Albania – well-known for its interfaith coexistence – the first Muslim-majority country to do so.
Israel hits 2 million vaccinated with 1st dose; police to up closure enforcement
Israel on Thursday marked the milestone of having inoculated 2 million people with the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, as the country pushed forward with the national vaccination drive amid record daily infections.

The person declared as the two-millionth Israeli to get the first dose was a kindergarten teacher from the central city of Ramle. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, both of whom have received the second dose, were on hand at the Maccabi Healthcare Services clinic in the city.

“It’s already become routine… It’s something we’re happy to grow accustomed to, but mostly we want to finish this,” Netanyahu said. “We’ll continue — to the next million.”

The prime minister said the government was working on rolling out the “green passports,” which will grant those vaccinated or who have recovered from COVID-19 access to certain gatherings and events that are currently banned.

Netanyahu urged Israelis to adhere to government-mandated virus restrictions and said no decision had yet been made on extending the third nationwide lockdown, which health officials have signaled will last beyond the original January 21 end date.

Israel kicked off its vaccine drive last month and on Sunday began administering second doses. It is currently first in the world in the number of people vaccinated per capita, according to the Oxford University-based Our World In Data.

According to television reports Thursday, Israel could begin vaccinating all citizens in their 40s next week, after opening up the vaccine drive this week to all Israelis over 50.

Coinciding with the launch of the vaccination campaign has been a surge in coronavirus cases, with over 9,000 daily new infections diagnosed in recent days.

Israel Advocacy Movement: Anti-Zionists hijack coronavirus

Amb. Alan Baker: Israel, the Palestinians, and the COVID-19 Vaccines: The New Blood-Libel
Israel has been accused of war crimes and preventing and denying the transfer of vaccines to the Palestinian population of the territories. This upsurge of criticism is based on false, flawed, malign, and misguided assumptions - or deliberately misleading claims - that Israel is the "occupying power" in the West Bank and Gaza.

What are Israel's legal requirements? Israel is under no obligation under international humanitarian law to provide vaccinations to the population of the territories. Israel's status is not that of an "occupying power," since it did not acquire the territories from an "ousted sovereign power" as required by the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, but rather from a Jordanian administration that had never received international acknowledgment of its claims to sovereignty.

The sole source of legal authority in the territories is the 1993-5 Oslo Accords, agreed to by Israel and the Palestinian leadership. They established an independent legal regime whereby the Palestinian Authority has the full responsibility to govern those parts of the territories placed by the accords under its control.

In Article 17 of the Third (Civilian) annex to the Oslo 2 accord, the Palestinian side assumed full powers and responsibilities in the field of health care and importation of medicines. On Jan. 6, 2021, the Jerusalem Post reported that "PA Ministry of Health officials said the Palestinians have not asked Israel to supply them with, nor to purchase on their behalf, vaccines against the novel coronavirus."

Clearly, epidemiological and moral considerations require both Israel and the Palestinians to cooperate to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading between their respective territories. But allegations that Israel has an international legal duty to provide vaccines to the Palestinians have no basis.
The Washington Post Puts Anti-Israel Narrative Before COVID-19 Vaccine Facts
The Washington Post’s self-declared principles, the newspaper told readers in a Jan. 1, 2016 article, “are displayed in brass linotype letters in an entrance to the newsroom.” It stands to reason, therefore, that the Post’s WorldViews columnist, Ishaan Tharoor, has seen them. But judging by his Jan. 12, 2021 article, “Israel’s vaccine success can’t hide a deeper divide,” one has doubts.

The report—the World Views column is part of the Post’s foreign desk and not its editorial side—professes to examine the COVID-19 vaccination situation among Israelis and Palestinians. But while the Post’s brass linotype letters promise to “tell ALL the truth so far as it can learn it, concerning the important affairs of America and the world,” the World Views column fails to live up to the newsrooms own standards.

Indeed, Tharoor uses Israel’s success at distributing a COVID-19 vaccine to engineer what columnist Jonathan Tobin has called a “blood libel” against the Jewish state. And the Washington Post employee’s phrasing indicates that it’s not an accident.

Tharoor notes that Israel’s “small size and the efficiency of its public health system have made it an ideal place to carry out a program of mass inoculation.” However, describing the Palestinians, he points out that “around a third of the 14 million people living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea are not included in this campaign.”

“Israel,” Tharoor enjoins, “has distributed vaccines to Jewish settlers in the West Bank, but not Palestinians there or in the crammed, impoverished Gaza Strip.” This is risible and inaccurately implies discrimination on Israel’s part.

In fact, the Palestinian Authority (PA), which rules the West Bank, and Hamas, the U.S.-designated terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip, are responsible for vaccinating those Palestinians.

Article 17 of the Oslo II agreement explicitly states: “powers and responsibilities in the sphere of Health in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will be transferred to the Palestinian side.” Further, the Oslo Accords specify that “the Palestinian side shall continue to apply the present standard of vaccination of Palestinians and shall improve them according to internationally accepted standards in the field, taking into account WHO recommendations.”
Noah Pollak: Sheldon Adelson, RIP
Sheldon Adelson lived the American dream, a version so extreme that it could be the plot of a Hollywood blockbuster. He started far poorer, and ended up far wealthier, than almost anyone in history, and he knew it. When you met with him, which I was lucky enough to do on a very few occasions, he made a point of giving you a short speech about growing up in a two-room Dorchester tenement and sleeping on the floor with his siblings. His parents were immigrants and they were desperately poor—so don’t think the gilded office you were sitting in was handed to him, and don’t think he doesn’t know what it takes.

Adelson made and lost a fortune more than once en route to his ultimate success of transforming Las Vegas from a gambling destination to the place where thousands of national and international conventions are held each year—and owning the facilities that host them. While sitting in his office at the Venetian listening to stories of sleeping on the floor you looked around at the walls hung with pictures of Adelson on magazine covers and the ceiling hung with models of his private jets. His fleet includes two 747s. I asked him why two, and he said that he got annoyed having to stop to refuel en route to Macau, and decided to get a backup in case one 747 was down for repairs.

It was very American of him to be unashamed of both his poor and humble upbringing and his enormous wealth and success. Endlessly caricatured in the media as a "casino billionaire" and "GOP megadonor" the idea was to paint him as an out of touch, exploitative villain. But he gave far more to medical research, drug abuse treatment, schools and universities, wounded veterans, and Jewish and Israel causes than he did to Republicans, and much of it was done quietly and without public recognition. All of it stemmed from deep personal convictions.

In 2015, he convened an invitation-only gathering at the Venetian for pro-Israel activists. Over the previous few years the BDS movement had grown in influence, especially on college campuses where it was being adopted as a "social justice" cause, and he wanted to do something about it. He had assembled a handful of donors and asked his guests to take the stage in a mostly empty convention hall and pitch them.

I don’t remember much about the pitches, but I remember his speech to the group very well. Adelson was a tough and decisive man, but his remarks were sentimental and moving, even intimate. Why was he committing millions of dollars to the anti-BDS cause? Because, he said, he saw in his own lifetime what happened when hatred was not confronted. He spoke about "the six million" who perished because nobody stood up and did something. There was no Sheldon Adelson in the 1930s, armed with billions of dollars and hard moral convictions. It was his solemn obligation to the six million, he said, to never let anti-Semitism go unchallenged. He said his parents got out but the ones left behind were just like them, and his family could have easily met their fate.
Las Vegas resorts honor Sheldon Adelson with marquee tribute
Las Vegas resorts on Wednesday paid special tribute to Sheldon Adelson, who died Monday, with a coordinated marquee tribute.

The Venetian Resort Las Vegas, which includes The Palazzo tower, dimmed its exterior lights to honor its founder whose impact on the city will live on in the Las Vegas community and around the world.

Tributes have been pouring in from the gambling industry as well.

Adelson is credited with the fusing together the convention, hotel and gaming industries by building mega-resorts in Las Vegas, Singapore and Macau.

Caesars Entertainment CEO Tom Reeg said Adelson "was a visionary who undeniably shaped our industry. We are grateful for the legacy he left behind, and our hearts are with his team at Las Vegas Sands, and his friends and family."

MGM Resorts International CEO Bill Hornbuckle noted, "The trade show industry and the modern luxury resort all bear Sheldon's fingerprints and cement his legacy as among the greatest entrepreneurs in the history of our industry."

Las Vegas hotel and casino operator Station Casinos issued a statement saying, "Through his entrepreneurial spirit and vision, Sheldon helped inspire and transform Las Vegas into the world class destination it is today."

NYT Falsely Claims Embassy Move Caused ‘Unrest Across the Middle East’
The New York Times falsely claimed in a Tuesday piece on the death of Sheldon Adelson that the United States's decision to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem "led to unrest across the Middle East."

The piece by Jeremy Peters and Shane Goldmacher argues that the recently deceased Jewish billionaire's push for moving the embassy had disastrous consequences. "The Adelsons were among those who helped persuade Mr. Trump to lean into a hard-line pro-Israel stance, which led to his decision in 2017 to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv," the article reads. The authors then contend that the move "incensed Palestinians and led to unrest across the Middle East after it was announced."

The article's authors do not provide any examples to support the claim that unrest abounded after the embassy relocation. Though many in the foreign-policy establishment said the decision would cause mass turmoil, their predictions of doom never materialized. On the contrary, the Trump administration went on to broker historic peace deals between Israel and several of its Arab neighbors.
CAMERA Op-Ed The Washington Post’s Adelson Obituary Defends Hamas
On Jan. 12, 2021 it was announced that Sheldon Adelson, the American billionaire and philanthropist, had died at the age of 87. The Washington Post wasted no time in defaming him. The newspaper’s obituary of the American, who was born poor but grew up to build a casino and real estate empire, is not only in poor taste—it’s poor journalism.

Obituary writer Donald Frazier recounts Adelson’s support for pro-Israel causes, as well as politicians whom he viewed as being helpful to the Jewish state. Frazier implies that Adelson’s support for Donald Trump led to the U.S. President “renouncing more than five decades of U.S. foreign policy that called for a two-state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict.” This occurred when Trump “formally recognized Jerusalem—a city that Palestinians, as well as Israelis, claim as their own—as the capital of Israel.” Trump also “moved the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv, undermining the American role as an ostensibly neutral arbitrator.”

In fact, the decision to “formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel” was merely the implementation of a bipartisan law passed two decades prior. The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It was passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority two decades ago and reaffirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate only six months prior to Trump’s Dec. 6, 2017 announcement that it would be implemented. Further, that announcement was accompanied by remarks explicitly noting that it did not commit the US to a position “on any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of the contested borders.”

But Frazier, offers another, more risible, omission-laden charge:
“In May 2018, Mr. Adelson and his wife had prime seats at the formal dedication of the new embassy in Jerusalem. Less than 50 miles away, conflict was erupting on the Gaza border, where dozens of Palestinian protesters were killed by Israeli soldiers. His Las Vegas newspaper, the Review-Journal, ran a front-page editorial, written by Miriam Adelson, with a headline proclaiming, ‘A great day for Israel — and for America.’”

This passage is as inaccurate and misleading as it is disgusting.

Caroline Glick: Goebbels and the New American Terror
What purpose did it serve for President-elect Joe Biden to liken Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) to Adolf Hitler's top propagandist Joseph Goebbels?

In response to a question about the two Republican lawmakers following remarks on January 8, Biden said, "I was being reminded by a friend of mine...when we're told [about] Goebbels and the great lie, you keep repeating the lie, repeating the lie."

Although Biden's comparison was imperfectly stated, it was clear enough to follow. He was saying that the lawmakers' efforts to challenge the Electoral College votes from disputed states was a Nazi-like effort.

By speaking this way, Biden did many things at once. First, he whitewashed Goebbels' barbaric crimes. Goebbels was the chief architect of totalitarianism in Nazi Germany and one of the lead architects of the Holocaust.

In his literary warning about the fragility of freedom and the allure of totalitarianism, 1984, George Orwell demonstrated that total control over a society is achieved through total control over the information its members can see.

Goebbels implemented this in Nazi Germany. As Hitler's propagandist, Goebbels exerted total control over information. He ensured that Germans would view Hitler as their infallible savior. He conditioned them to view Jews as subhuman vermin, to be exterminated like cockroaches. And he made them believe that all Germans who didn't accept what they were told were enemies of the people.

Goebbels achieved all of these things by blocking public access to accurate information while inundating the Germans with images and words that repeated and amplified his monstrous lies. Goebbels' success in controlling information was the necessary precondition for all he and his comrades unleashed on Jews, and on humanity as a whole.

Jonathan S. Tobin: The Anti Defamation League has forgotten its mission
So let’s not pretend that ADL is supporting impeachment because of anti-Semitism. It is doing so because it has long since decided that opposing Trump has become its priority.

If that weren’t bad enough, Greenblatt has gone all-in on support for Internet censorship, supporting not just shutting down the accounts of neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers, but also the efforts of social-media oligarchs to shutter Parler—a site created in order to provide a safe place for free speech for conservatives. While some anti-Semites might have used Parler, ADL is effectively supporting the monopoly of Twitter, which continues to allow left-wing and Islamist anti-Semites free reign on their platform. In effect, ADL has put itself firmly on the side of Big Tech control of national discourse, a more ominous and effective threat to democracy than the futile violence of the Capitol rioters.

Why has it gone down this road?

Not all of the blame is the result of having a partisan hack as its CEO. Its major donors and board seem to be just as uninterested in the ADL sticking to its job of impartially opposing anti-Semitism and supporting the Jewish state as Greenblatt. If not, they might have tempered some of their anti-Trump zeal because of the fact that he was the most pro-Israel president ever to sit in the White House. In this most hyper-partisan moment in memory, ADL’s leadership is betting its future on the proposition that being a liberal political organization is safer and more popular than doing the important job for which it was created.

That’s a shame, because unlike a lot of national Jewish groups, ADL still has an actual purpose and possessed a uniquely respected brand that was nurtured under Greenblatt’s predecessors. But by aligning itself so closely with the Democratic Party and left-wing partners like veteran race-baiter Al Sharpton—whose incendiary anti-Semitic rhetoric helped incite the Crown Heights riots in 1991—it is rightly no longer viewed as a nonpartisan organization that can be trusted as an impartial authority when defining Jew-hatred.

So while there is nothing intrinsically wrong about supporting impeachment at this juncture, having a Jewish group whose purpose is fighting anti-Semitism embrace that cause is a dereliction of duty that in a saner time might have doomed it to irrelevance. American Jews still need the ADL. Sadly, the ADL doesn’t seem to think it needs to stick to defending Jewish interests.
Arsen Ostrovsky: Hold Twitter To Account
In July 2020, at a Knesset session with social media companies on the issue of online anti-Semitism, I questioned a Twitter representative on why it was flagging President Donald Trump's tweets (at the time, mostly regarding COVID-19 and George Floyd's death), but leaving unchecked Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei's actual calls for genocide against Israel.

The Twitter rep's response was as jarring as it was obscene, claiming Khamenei's tweets fell within Twitter guidelines because they were mere "foreign policy saber-rattling" and thus acceptable "commentary on political issues of the day."

In other words, calling for genocide and my death—and the deaths of nine million other Israelis—is okay according to Twitter and Jack Dorsey.

President Trump's recent indefinite ban from Twitter has only underscored the gross double standards and arbitrariness in the company's enforcement of its own terms and policies.

On the facts of the case alone, Twitter was well within its merits to revoke access to President Trump on the basis of his inflammatory rhetoric at the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday, and with a justified concern that he would continue obstructing an orderly and peaceful transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden.

Nonetheless, this still raises an obvious question: How is it that Twitter can ban President Trump yet continue to turn a blind eye to the world's worst terrorists, dictators and tyrants?

Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei, who continues to call for the genocide of Israel, incite violence against Americans and deny the Holocaust, still has an account.

So do the various commissars of the Chinese Communist Party, which uses Twitter to systematically spread COVID-19 misinformation and justify its genocide of Uyghur Muslims.
BDS Continues to Fizzle Out
Thank you BDS movement, for helping our government clarify its position. Hopefully, universities that cling to the intellectually dishonest position that they cannot eradicate antisemitism from their campuses because they can’t or refuse to define it, will adopt the IHRA definition as well.

The incoming Biden administration should be expected to remain vigilant and unrelenting in fighting antisemitism. A year ago, Joe Biden expressed his opinion, which he reiterated throughout the campaign: “I’ve been clear: the calls here in the United States to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel are wrong. Period. The BDS movement singles out Israel — home to millions of Jews — in a way that is inconsistent with the treatment of other nations, and it too often veers into antisemitism, while letting Palestinians off the hook for their choices.”

The BDS movement never had a chance of gaining a foothold in the United States. Elsewhere, especially Western Europe, the situation has been different. Even there, however, BDS advocates have been put on the defensive, most notably in Germany, where the Bundestag condemned the BDS campaign in 2019, and Austria did the same in 2020.

I regularly tweet #BDSFails. Here are a few examples from 2020:
- Spanish Court Strikes Down Another “Discriminatory” Municipal BDS Pledge.
- Microsoft to establish major cloud data center in Israel.
- Israel and Australia sign water deal.
- Norwegian MPs reject bill seeking to label settlement goods and announces it will ignore UN “blacklist” of companies that do business with Israel.
- Balearic Islands passed a bill condemning any form of antisemitism.
- Universal becomes first major music label to open a branch in Israel.
- Germany prosecutes BDS activists who interrupted speech by Israel Knesset member.
- Spain adopts International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism.
- Israeli companies sign military and commercial contracts with countries around the world, including India, Switzerland, Greece, the UK, Italy, and the Czech Republic.
- Bahrain refused special labels for Judea and Samaria goods.

Not only have the BDSers failed to make Israel an outcast, but the Jewish state also now has relations with more countries than ever before — at least 167 of the 193 UN member states — with Bhutan becoming the latest in December.

The biggest, if not last nail in the BDS coffin, was the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco establishing diplomatic relations with Israel. These countries that once participated in the Arab League boycott are rapidly building commercial ties with the Jewish state. The Palestinian veto over peace between Israel and the Arab/Muslim world has been shattered.

If this were a sporting event, the crowd would be singing, “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye.”

Haaretz Corrects Three Kidnapping, Murder Victims Were Teens, Not ‘Young Men’
When Israelis teens Naftali Frankel (16), Gilad Shaar (16) and Eyal Yifrach (19) were kidnapped and murdered in June 2014 by Palestinian terrorists, the Israeli nation was riveted to news coverage of the 18-day agonizing search for the missing boys, clinging to hope and prayers for their safe return. In vengeance for their murders, Jewish terrorists then carried out another brutal murder which further rocked the country: the burning death of 16-year-old Mohammad Abu Khdeir.

Given the deep national trauma of these events, it’s hard to understand how Haaretz’s English has twice misreported basic facts about the Israeli victims’ identity. In 2019, the paper was compelled to correct after journalist Chemi Shalev misreported that the trio were soldiers. In fact, all of them were civilians (yeshiva students), not yet inducted into the army. The correction (at left) also rightly noted that the boys were murdered, while Shalev reported only the kidnapping, ignoring the murders.

Yesterday, Haaretz‘s English edition, in both print and online, mischaracterized the teens as “young men.” The article, by Hagar Shezaf, erred: “Tawafsheh said he couldn’t recall such a long string of violent incidents by settlers since 2014, when three young men from the Gush Etzion settlement bloc were kidnapped and murdered.“

The hyperlink on the digital edition is to an article which correctly identifies the boys as “teens.” At 16, Frankel and Shaar were the same age as Ahuvia Sandak, who was killed in the recent police chase after Israeli youth who threw stones at Palestinians’ vehicles. Yesterday’s article correctly identified Sandak as a “teenager” in both the article and headline (“Palestinians, soldiers take brunt of settlers’ anger over teenager’s death in police chase last month)” In addition, the Hebrew version of Hagar Shezaf’s article correctly identifies the boys as נערים, mean youth or adolescents, not “young men.”
The BBC’s Oslo Accords disappearing act
Recent BBC reporting on the topic of vaccinations against the Covid-19 virus in Israel has for the most part displayed a pattern of erasing from audience view relevant agreements signed by the PLO on behalf of the Palestinians over a quarter of a century ago.

On repeated occasions BBC audiences were not informed of the fact that under the terms of the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority took on responsibility for the healthcare of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and that it is hence the PA health ministry which is responsible for vaccinating Palestinians.

Another example of the BBC’s practice of selectively ignoring agreements included in the Oslo Accords came in the January 9th afternoon edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour’.

In an item promoting a film about the mayor of Ramallah, Charlotte Gallagher told listeners:
“Twenty kilometers from Jerusalem, Ramallah is in some ways a city like any other with restaurants, shopping centres and car dealerships. But it’s part of the occupied territories and lacks full autonomy. Building a much-needed sewage treatment works in Ramallah needs to be agreed with Israel.”

Pursuant to the Oslo Accords, Ramallah is of course situated in Area A and has been under the full control of the Palestinian Authority since September 1995. Gallagher however sidelined those facts in order to promote the notion that the city “lacks full autonomy” and went on to provide what she appears to believe to be an illustrative example.
Austria gives ‘Iranian Holocaust-deniers millions, Shoah survivors pastry’
The Vienna-based branch of the NGO Stop the Bomb issued a stinging indictment of Wolfgang Stanek, president of Austria’s umbrella parliament covering its nine state governments, because of his efforts to expand trade with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“Millions in business for the Holocaust denier regime in Iran and Linzer torte for Holocaust survivors in Israel - that sums up Austrian politics very well,” said Stefan Grigat, the academic director for Stop the Bomb, which seeks to halt the Iranian regime’s illicit nuclear weapons program. “As long as Austrian companies are able to keep the regime in Iran alive with political support, the statements [from politicians] about the fight against antisemitism are not to be taken seriously.”

Days after Stanek’s visit with Iran’s ambassador, Upper Austria State Governor Thomas Stelzer sent Holocaust survivors in Israel a piece of “Original Linzer Torte,” a type of Austrian pastry.

“Those who do business with the ayatollahs finance the Iranian nuclear weapons program and the threats of annihilation against Israel,” Grigat added.

Stanek met with Iran’s ambassador to Austria, Abbas Bagherpour Ardekani, to expand business deals, according to Stop the Bomb, an NGO that advocates strong sanctions against Iran’s regime. The organization said Stanek is building business relations with an “antisemitic terror regime.”

The US State Department under both the Obama and Trump administrations have classified Iran’s regime as the leading international state-sponsor of terrorism. Department officials have also said Iran’s regime is the top state-sponsor of Holocaust denial and antisemitism.
Man arrested after swastikas sprayed on Leonard Cohen’s Montreal synagogue
One of Montreal’s largest synagogues was found with its doors spray-painted with large swastikas Wednesday, and a synagogue guard played a role in arresting the man suspected of the vandalism.

The man who was apprehended reportedly brought a canister of gasoline to Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, a 160-year-old Modern Orthodox synagogue that is known internationally for nurturing, and eventually burying, the legendary singer and poet Leonard Cohen.

Police were summoned to the scene at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday and arrested a 28-year-old man they said would be evaluated for mental health problems, according to local news reports.

Canadian Jewish groups decried the vandalism, with Rabbi Reuben Poupko of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs calling it “vile” and B’nai Brith Canada’s CEO Michael Mostyn calling it “a jarring reminder of the constant need for vigilance in protecting our Jewish communal institutions.”

The synagogue, like others in Montreal, is currently closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That was the case as well in May, when vandals ransacked a different Montreal Orthodox synagogue, destroying its Torah scrolls in the process.

The mayor of Westmount, the upscale suburb where the synagogue is located, issued a statement saying he was “shocked and outraged” by the vandalism.

Germany’s Buchenwald concentration camp pans ‘disrespectful’ tobogganers
The German memorial at former Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald Thursday demanded an end to visitors playing winter sports at the site, after some were even spotted sledding at its mass graves.

Criticizing “disrespectful” behavior, the foundation asked guests to refrain from leisure pastimes at Buchenwald and the former subcamp Mittelbau-Dora in eastern Germany.

“Sporting activities are a violation of visitor rules and disturb the peace of the dead,” it said in a statement, warning that its security staff would be stepping up patrols and trespassers would be reported to the police.

The director of the foundation, Jens-Christian Wagner, told news website Der Spiegel that “masses” of daytrippers had gathered at the site over the weekend and most seemed to have come for fun in the snow.

“Some of the sled tracks ended at the mass graves,” he said.

Wagner said he could understand that many families with children wanted to spend time outside, particularly during a nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus, but that the memorial expected appropriate behavior from its visitors.

“As time passes, historical sensitivity is fading,” he said.
Germany hands over 14 works from trove of Nazi-looted art
German authorities have now handed over all 14 works from the art trove accumulated by late collector Cornelius Gurlitt that so far were proven to have been looted under Nazi rule, the government said Wednesday.

“Piano Playing,” a drawing by Carl Spitzweg, was handed over to Christie’s auction house on Tuesday at the request of the heirs of its rightful owner, Henri Hinrichsen, the government said.

The work was seized from Hinrichsen, a Jewish music publisher, in 1939. The following year, it was bought by Gurlitt’s father, Hildebrand Gurlitt — an art dealer who traded in works confiscated by the Nazis. Hinrichsen was killed at the Auschwitz death camp in 1942.

The reclusive Cornelius Gurlitt, who died in 2014, had squirreled away more than 1,200 works in his Munich apartment and a further 250 or so at a property in Salzburg, Austria. He inherited much of the collection from his father.

Authorities first stumbled on the art while investigating a tax case in 2012.
Israel said likely to remain key for Intel as multinational readies for new CEO
Israel will likely continue to be key to Intel Corp.’s global activities even as the company gets a new CEO, a person familiar with the US tech giant’s operations said.

Intel on Wednesday said it had appointed Pat Gelsinger as its new chief executive officer, replacing Bob Swan at the post on February 15.

Gelsinger is an industry veteran with more than 40 years of technology experience, including 30 years at Intel, where he began his career, the US firm said in a statement.

For the past eight and a half years Gelsinger has led VMware, building it into a global leader in cloud infrastructure, enterprise mobility and cybersecurity and almost tripling the company’s annual revenues. He was ranked number 1 CEO in the world in 2019 by Glassdoor and named Fortune #2 Businessperson of the Year in 2018.

Intel hopes to “draw on Pat’s technology and engineering expertise during this critical period of transformation at Intel,” said Omar Ishrak, independent chairman of the Intel board, in the statement.

Gelsinger has always had good ties with Israel and hopefully that will continue, the person familiar with Intel’s operations in Israel and globally said. The Israeli team does good work for the company, and thus is likely to continue to be a key development center for the firm, the person said.

Israel is home to the largest Intel development center in the world and the Israeli team’s contribution to the company’s global technology development is seen as significant. The 7th and 8th generation Intel processors were developed mainly in Israel. The firm’s factory in Kiryat Gat is considered one of the most advanced and highest quality among Intel factories around the world.
Israel Sells Slovakia 17 Advanced Radar Systems in Extensive Defense Export Deal
The Israel Ministry of Defense will deliver 17 radar systems produced by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to the Slovak Ministry of Defense, in a massive defense export agreement that amounts to approximately €150 million.

The Slovak government approved the recommendation made by the Slovak Ministry of Defense to procure the Israeli-developed systems. The agreement, led by the International Defense Cooperation Directorate (SIBAT) in the Ministry of Defense, includes the transfer of technology and knowledge from Israel to Slovakia as well as industrial cooperation.

The radar components will be manufactured in collaboration with defense industries in Slovakia, under the professional guidance of IAI and the Ministry of Defense.

The Israeli radar systems will be interoperable with NATO defense mechanisms.

In recent years, similar systems have been incorporated into the command and control systems of additional countries in the NATO alliance.

The flagship Multi-Mission Radar (MMR) manufactured by ELTA systems, an IAI subsidiary, is combat proven and has extensive operational experience in Israel and around the world. The radar detects airborne threats, aircraft and ballistic targets, classifies them, calculates their threat level and provides essential data that enables systems to neutralize multiple threats simultaneously.

The Canadian Army, the Republic of Singapore Air Force, the Army of the Czech Republic, and the Hungarian army have all purchased units.
Fitch affirms Israel's 'A+' rating with stable outlook
The agency noted that Israel's financing terms remain comfortable, among other things, due to the Bank of Israel's bond purchasing program that has resulted in nominal returns in 10-year government bonds of lower than 1% annually.

"The ratings are constrained by security risks, but Israel's credit profile has shown resilience to periodic conflicts," Fitch said.

"The Abraham Accords formalized the pre-existing relationships between Israel and some Arab countries and highlight a shared priority of containing Iran. It remains to be seen whether they lessen the geopolitical risks facing Israel. Economic benefits are likely to be limited given the modest size of their economies compared with existing trade partners."
Israel: 162 Ethiopian Jews Arrive on New ‘Rock of Israel’ Operation Flight
On Thursday morning, Israel welcomed another 162 Ethiopian Jews, members of the Falash Mura community, who landed in the Jewish state to make their aliyah.

The newly-made Israelis made their way into the Jewish state on the fifth flight conducted as part of the so-called “Rock of Israel” operation.

“I am extremely excited to see these new arrivals in Israel,” Pnina Tamano-Shata, Israel’s Minister of Aliyah and Integration, who is of Ethiopian origin herself, said.

“We have begun to correct this old wrong, and it gives me the strength to continue to act,” she added.

Under the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Israel, the new immigrants will have to go for a two-week quarantine before reuniting with their families.

Under “Rock of Israel,” the Jewish state intends to fly in a total of some 2,000 Ethiopian Jews, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in October, unveiling the plan.

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